Summary and Analysis Part I: Chapter 8



A few days after his arrival at Blefuscu, Gulliver sees a large overturned ship floating in the bay and hauls it to port. While he is restoring the ship for his return home, a Lilliputian envoy presents a note demanding that Gulliver be returned as a traitor. The Blefuscudian emperor refuses to do so, hoping that Gulliver will stay as a war deterrent between the two countries. Gulliver refuses, however, and sets sail for home. Eventually a British merchant ship picks him up and returns him to England where he is reunited with his wife and family.


Gulliver's flight to Blefuscu recalls Bolingbroke's flight from England to France to escape the charges of treason pressed by the Whigs. The suggestions in the previous chapter that Gulliver might have pelted and destroyed the Lilliputian capital relate to Bolingbroke also. Supporters argued that had Bolingbroke and Harley actually intended treason, they could have revolted successfully. The Lilliputians' thirst for vengeance and their attempt to force the Blefuscudians to surrender Gulliver coincide with English protests against the Jacobites who found sanctuary in France.

By the end of Book I, Swift has drawn a brilliant, concrete, and detailed contrast between the normal, if gullible, man and the diminutive but vicious politician; the politician is always a midget alongside Gulliver. Swift makes it clear that the normal person is concerned with honor, gratitude, common sense, and kindness. Swift, however, is not through with comparisons. The representative person is a midget compared with the truly moral person. Swift prepares to send gullible Gulliver off on a voyage to a realm where practical morality works. The inhabitants of this realm are as much bigger than normal people as normal people are bigger than politicians.


cordage cords and ropes collectively, especially, the ropes in a ship's rigging.

cabal a small group of persons joined in a secret, often political, intrigue.

young princes of the blood the nobility; here, meaning the succession of royalty.

the lee-side of the island the side or direction away from the wind.

ancient an ensign, or flag.

a bowling green at Greenwich a smooth lawn at Greenwich, a borough of Greater London.

the Black Bull in Fetter Lane a place of business (possibly a pub) leased by Gulliver.

leaving my family upon the parish leaving my family with no income; here, meaning Gulliver provides financial support for his family before leaving on his second voyage.

towardly child a friendly child.

Surat a seaport in western India, on the Arabian Sea.